In her twenties, travel writer Sara Wheeler spent seven months camping in the Antarctic as the US National Science Foundation’s first female writer-in-residence at the South Pole. Day after day, queues of Emperor penguins followed her about – they belonged there, after all, whereas she was just a visiting writer. But in the zoo, roles are reversed. For this event, part of the ZSL Writers Talks on Endangered Animals series and chaired by poet and ZSL Trustee Ruth Padel, the audience is invited to come to the zoo after closing hours, when the public have all gone home and the animals are settling down for the night. In conversation with Professor Tim Blackburn, Director of the Institute of Zoology, and the zoo’s penguin keeper Vicky Fyson, Sara reflects on the loveable penguin – nature’s satire on humanity.